Judge Cooper’s school mask ruling is in. It’s not the final word.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Leon County Judge John Cooper issued his ruling in Florida's highly watched school mask mandate lawsuit. The state immediately appealed his verdict. [Florida Channel/Photo from video]
Leon County Judge John Cooper issued his ruling in Florida's highly watched school mask mandate lawsuit. The state immediately appealed his verdict. [Florida Channel/Photo from video]
Published Sept. 3, 2021

Leon County Judge John Cooper delivered his written ruling, a week after delivering a lengthy explanation of his findings in a lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on school universal mask mandates. It gave some school districts the justification they sought to impose mask mandates. But it was only the start of more legal proceedings. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news. • There will be no news roundup on Monday because of Labor Day. We will resume on Tuesday.

Judge Cooper’s ruling contained no surprises. The state immediately appealed, delaying the effect of the order. The plaintiffs quickly moved to undo the delay. More from Florida Politics, WJXT, Orlando Sentinel.

Meanwhile, more school districts debated what they should do about masks:

The Seminole County School Board met to consider toughening its mask mandate, which has an opt-out clause. After hours of public comment, the board made no changes, WKMG reports.

The Lake County School Board called for another meeting to talk some more rather than vote at its special meeting, the Daily Commercial reports.

• The Clay County School Board stuck with its mask-optional policy after a heated two-hour meeting, WJXT reports.

• The Leon County School Board voted unanimously to hire a lawyer to fight the state over the district’s mask mandate without an opt-out, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Leon’s superintendent said the state officials are the ones who don’t understand the law, Florida Phoenix reports.

Other districts also continued to defend their rules. Lawyers for the Sarasota County school district argued the school mask mandate is legal and complies with the state Parents’ Bill of Rights, the Herald-Tribune reports.

There’s more than one lawsuit over masks. A St. Johns County mom sued the local school district, contending the district’s refusal to require masks equates to discrimination against her son with special needs, the St. Augustine Record reports. • Some Duval County parents sued their school district, claiming its mask mandate violates their children’s rights, WTLV reports.

Don’t like the mask mandate? The Volusia County school district reopened registration for its virtual programs, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Some Brevard County students claimed their school attempted to deny them cafeteria meals if they didn’t have a mask. The Department of Education is looking into it, WOFL reports.

How many cases are there? The Polk County school district launched a new dashboard to present its case data to the public, the Ledger reports.

Some schools are closing amid large quarantine numbers. One St. Johns County school is a candidate to be next, with some parents calling for action, WJXT reports.

Others are cutting back on quarantining. With a stricter mask mandate in place, the Brevard County school district relaxed its rules for when it sends students and staff home after exposure, Florida Today reports.

Other school news

Education Week released its latest “Quality Counts” report. Florida was noted for performing better in student achievement than in finance or school environment, Education Week reports.

Red means stop. Law enforcement in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are boosting enforcement of traffic rules relating to passing school buses with their stop arms extended, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

From the police blotter ... A Lee County man was arrested on allegations he attempted to pry open the doors of a school bus while carrying a gun, WINK reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... Here’s a little something for you coffee drinkers, from Funny or Die.

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